President Lex Luthor couldn't tell which of the Furies had left a hairball on the latest piece of legislation he was due to sign, so divided a glare impartially. Megaera licked some of her personal bits, Tisiphone stretched, making sure that he got a glimpse of her claws, and Alecto licked a paw and washed behind her ear as though he wasn't even there.

The President nodded. They could have left worse, as he knew from past experience, but apparently this bill only merited a half-hearted hairball.

"Mr. President?" The intercom buzzed. "The NASA director is here to see you."

"Right. Send him in." Lex tossed him a bottle of a beverage [contact author for product placement rates]. "Have a seat, Clark."

"Hi, Lex."

"Clark, I know that you appreciate the hard work that goes into it, and the risks and sacrifices that our astronauts make." Clark nodded. "Nonetheless, buzzing them with a big sign each time one of them has a birthday just makes them jumpy."

"But, Lex-" Just to make her point that the alien, being claw-resistant, was a notorious cat-frustrator, Allie leapt at him, scratched a tear all the way down his shirt sleeve, then jumped back off the chair with an expression of righteous indignation.

Lex took advantage of the interruption. "They're under a lot of stress and seeing you out there, without a suit and those huge feet of yours far too close to the shuttle, doesn't help. Plus, despite what years of movies have told you, fire can't burn in space, so that cake with birthday candles...when even I can't think of the symbolism, it's got to stop." As he shook his head, Clark shuffled his feet self-consciously and Lex relented. "So how's the new management doing with those safety regulations?"

Clark forgot his chagrin and glowed. "It's coming along great, Lex. The new safety team is really on the ball. We've got a good multiple checks system going and Principal Reynolds is pretty scary at monitoring things.

"Good work, Clark." The President gave up on checking his desk clock, since Tiss was lying in front of it with the air of a cat who means to be an immovable object, and glanced at his watch. "Come around tonight. They sent me a copy of the newest Warrior Angel game."

Clark couldn't decide whether to widen his eyes in anticipation or narrow them in suspicion, so settled for leaving them as they were. "That's not supposed to be out for another two months."

Lex smirked. "It's called executive privilege."

Debriefings coming soon...

Secretary of Agriculture Jonathan Kent

VP Peter Ross

FRB Chair Martha Kent

GAO Head Chloe Sullivan

Secretary of State Lana Lang

AN: This ficlet is as much thediehard's responsibility as mine. More, if I can just talk her into accepting that.